"What is needed is a culture of accountability. Such a culture is one
in which we understand that normally we are responsible for our choices
and actions and expect to be held accountable by others."
---- Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D.
Sign spotted in a high school classroom: "Sentences without verbs --
3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back
What if it is only your own weakness that allows you to perceive your
student's weakness? What is seeing your student's weakness trying to say
to you about your own weakness?
When disciplining, take care to use Teacher Talk that separates the
deed from the doer.
"I like you and I don't like that behavior."
"I have a problem with this behavior, not with you personally."
"I'll miss you if you choose time out, but I don't allow talking during
Many students think they are their behavior, their "act." They believe
they are their report cards. They think they are whether or not they made
the team. They believe being first or fourth chair in band is synonymous
with their personal worth.
Students are not their act. They are much more than that. They are light
and love; they are children of God. If we as professional educators do
not have a vision of who students really are apart from their particular
acts, who will?
Using Teacher Talk that clearly separates the act from the student who
chose that act helps the student to see himself or herself as more than
an act. Using Teacher Talk that separates the deed from the doer enables
you to hold a student in a state of grace as you simultaneously hold the
student accountable for his or her actions.
(Adapted from "Teacher Talk: What It Really Means," by Chick Moorman
and Nancy Weber. ($12.95 plus $3.75 shipping and handling.) Call for quantity
discount prices. (Toll-free) 877-360-1477.
Spotted west of Oklahoma City on I-40:
"Your kid may be an honor roll student, but you're still an idiot."
What possesses people to put this message on a car bumper? Are they
simply being cute and clever? Are they unconsciously opposed to honor
rolls? Did they not learn in kindergarten that name-calling is inappropriate
behavior? Is this about jealousy, the beginnings of road rage, or a measure
of the effectiveness of our drivers' education programs?
If you have this message displayed on the bumper of your car, please
contact us with an explanation at email@example.com.
6. Manage Your Subscription [back
A.) If you are receiving the newsletter as a forward and would like
to insure that you get your personal free subscription, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to the educator newsletter.
B.) To remove yourself from this list, e-mail email@example.com and ask to be deleted from the educator newsletter.
C.) Back issues of the Response-Able Educator Newsletter can be found here.
D.) Are you interested in receiving our parenting newsletter?
If so, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request
to be added to the parenting newsletter list.
E.) Please recommend this free e-newsletter to any teachers you know
who are interested in adding tools to their teaching tool boxes.
F.) Please notify us if your e-mail address is about to change. Send
your name and new e-mail address to email@example.com.
Be sure to let us know your old e-mail address so we can unsubscribe it.
7. Article: Saying the "S" Word [back
by Chick Moorman
“I won’t accept that kind of language in my class.” Those
were the words that one of Austin’s sixth grade teachers used, immediately
following his utterance of the “S” word in class.
Austin doesn’t typically
use the “S” word, the “F” word, or any other word that has to be abbreviated
with capital letters. He knows better and he usually acts accordingly.
But on this day, he reached into his backpack, realized he had left an
important paper in his locker, and without thinking about possible ramifications,
let the word flow into the classroom atmosphere. A classmate overheard
him, informed the teacher, and continued the string of events that would
lead to Austin’s only (so far) school detention.
“Did you use the “S” word?”
asked teacher, Sally Geuder. “Yes,” replied my eleven-year old grandson,
owning his behavior. “I won’t accept that kind of language in my class,”
Mrs. Gueder continued. “I know,” said Austin. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t
have used it.”
What followed next is critical. It is the language and behavior
that separates extraordinary teachers from those that are average. It
reflects a way of looking at life and the teaching/learning process that
is positive, nurturing, uplifting and inspiring. It is the way of Spirit
“Thank you for telling the truth,” said Mrs. Geuder. “I’m
glad you admitted it. I will be writing you a detention notice for using
profanity in the classroom. Your grandfather will have to sign and return
the notice to the school office and you will have to serve a detention
after school one day next week.” “OK,” Austin said, reluctantly.
The detention notice that
Austin brought home that day was simple and straightforward. It contained
his name, the date, the class, the teacher’s name, the time, and the infraction.
A place was provided for my signature. As detention notices go, this one
was pretty ordinary. It was the note that accompanied the detention notice
that was special.
“Austin really reacted positively
to the detention,” the note began. “He didn’t try to argue. He admitted
it quickly and owned up to it. He readily accepted the consequences of
his behavior. He’s really improving in this area.”
Mrs. Geuder’s note touched
on all the positive aspects of Austin’s behavior. It informed us of all
the things he had done well. It focused on his strengths and the improvement
he had made since the beginning of the year.
What is important to note
here, is that Austin’s teacher did not make him wrong. She did not make
him bad. She did not make him awful. She did not make him a troublemaker.
She simply made him someone who got a detention. She knew where the boundaries
of appropriate behavior in her classroom were, made those lines clear,
and did it in a way that helped him see the positive side of his behavior.
What a positive way to handle a negative situation!
8. Coming Attractions [back
The Teacher Talk System announces the following open seminars:
Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management (K-12)
Lansing, MI March 25, 2003
Chicago, IL March 26, 2003
Atlanta, GA March 27, 2003
Includes many Teacher Talk ideas and the Sounds of Spirit Whispering.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a detailed brochure.
Do you know a Spirit Whisperer? Send us a story. If it fits with our
goal of helping others teach to a child's spirit, we will add it to the
Spirit Whisperer Idea Exchange at www.chickmoorman.com and possibly use
it in the Response-Able Educator Newsletter. You will receive a free Spirit
Whisperer book if your story is used. (See "Spirit
Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit" on our web site,
A Spirit Whisperer could be any teacher, parent, para-educator, administrator,
coach, counselor, bus driver, secretary, lunchroom aide, or grandparent.
He or she could be present in a child's life for only a short time or
on a permanent basis. He or she might teach down the hall or live next
door. You yourself could even by a Spirit Whisperer.
A Spirit Whisperer is any adult who teaches to a child's spirit. He
or she believes that to teach effectively, one must address the entire
trilogy of a child's mind, body, and spirit. A Spirit Whisperer stays
conscious that in our current education system the portion of that trio
most often neglected is the third one, spirit.
A Spirit Whisperer's primary objective is always development of a student's
spirit. A Spirit Whisperer focuses on the power of belief, developing
an "I can" attitude, creating an internal standard, and teaching and modeling
a solution-seeking mindset. Spirit Whisperers set up their classrooms
so youngsters can learn that a classroom is more than a place of discovery,
it is a place of creation -- the creation of who students are as human
Do you recognize a Spirit Whisperer that teaches across the hall? Was
your third-grade teacher or your high school biology teacher a Spirit
Whisperer? If so, it is time to tattle. Tell me your story and I will
help you write it up so your Spirit Whisperer's exploits can be shared